May 9, 2012

Down-the-Line Backhands

A common mistake when hitting the backhand down the line is to change directions with just the arm. This changes the stroke from your normal shot, messing up your stroke and costing you both control and speed. Instead, make sure to turn the shoulders in the direction you are hitting. Just as you face the direction you are hitting when going crosscourt you should do so when hitting down the line. (Note that the shoulders don't actually turn during the stroke; you turn the shoulders in advance to put yourself in position to hit the backhand.)

If you want deception, wait until the last second before turning the shoulders, especially when going for a quick block. But even when blocking you should turn those shoulders and face the direction you are hitting before initiating the forward swing. Since blocking is a reactive shot where you use the opponent's own speed and spin to rebound off your racket, you can wait until the last second before facing the direction you are blocking - but always turn your shoulders and face the direction you are hitting before the racket moves forward. (There are some advanced players, especially penholders with conventional backhands, who have developed down-the-line blocks where they don't face the direction they are blocking - see David Zhuang - but only experiment with that if your blocking is very good.)

Service Seminar and Beginning Classes

If you are in the Germantown, Maryland area (i.e. Maryland Table Tennis Center), you may be interested in the Service Seminar this Saturday, the Adult Beginning Class I'm teaching on Thursdays, or the ongoing Beginning Junior Classes I teach on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Service Seminar is this Saturday, 12:30-2:00 PM. While the cost is $20 for MDTTC members and $25 for non-members, if you email Coach Larry Hodges in advance (by 8PM Friday) then cost is only $15 for MDTTC members, $20 for non-members. Seminar will alternate between lectures and table practice, covering creating spin, deception, different serve motions, and fast serves.

The Adult Beginning Class starts this Thursday. Minimum age is 14 or permission of instructor. It'll meet on ten Thursdays, 7:30-9:00 PM, May 10 - July 12. Cost is $200/student, or $175 for MDTTC members. Here's the flyer. Class will cover all the basics: grip and ready position; the forehand and backhand strokes (driving, smashing, pushing, blocking, looping); defensive play (lobbing, fishing, chopping); serve and return of serve; footwork; equipment; and tactics. If you would like to attend this class, you MUST sign up in advance, by 8PM on Wednesday.Please email Coach Larry Hodges if you plan to attend. (Interesting tidbit - Han Xiao started out by showing up for one of my beginning classes, but was too young at age 7, so I turned him over to Cheng Yinghua for private coaching.)

There are openings in the Beginning Junior Classes, Saturdays 10:30 AM - Noon and Sundays 4:30-6:00 PM. See the Junior Group Training page. This is for kids ages 5-13, though most are under 10.

Long Pips Drills

Here is the first of 15 drills for long pips players by USATT Coaching Chair Richard McAfee. Most of the videos are under a minute long. Links to the others are on the right - they are numbered 1-15.

Minutes for USATT Feb. 28 Board Teleconference

Here are the minutes in PDF format, all seven pages. Kudos to USATT for proving minutes to their board meetings, non-kudos for still not putting up minutes of committee and task force meetings, as required by USATT Bylaws.

Cleveland Pitcher Plays Pong

Cleveland Indians pitcher Chris Perez joined Sprout Social for some table tennis. Article includes link to 47-second video of him playing.

Fastest Table Tennis in History

Yes, here is a video of the fastest rally ever recorded (0:50) - and watch how the speed picks up more and more until the ball is just a blur!


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